UFC 291 suffered a major blow as the highly anticipated marquee fight between Michel Pereira and Stephen Thompson was cancelled just hours before the event in Salt Lake City. The disappointing news was confirmed by UFC reporter Megan Olivi and ESPN’s Marc Raimondi.
The UFC stated that Pereira’s failure to make weight was the reason behind the fight’s cancellation. Raimondi reported that Pereira weighed in at 174 pounds, three pounds over the welterweight limit. This is not the first time the Brazilian fighter has faced such an issue, as he was also one pound over the welterweight limit in a 2019 bout against Tristan Connelly.
On the other hand, Stephen Thompson managed to make weight, coming in at 170.5 pounds.
The fight between Pereira and Thompson had the potential to be one of the biggest of Pereira’s career. Riding a five-fight win streak, Pereira was on a roll and posed a significant challenge to Thompson.
Unfortunately, Pereira was not the only fighter to miss weight before UFC 291. Vinicius Salvador, who is scheduled to face CJ Vergara, came in 2.5 pounds over the flyweight limit and was fined 20 percent of his fight purse, as reported by MMA Junkie. Nevertheless, the catchweight fight will still proceed.
This is not the first time Pereira has faced consequences for failing to make weight. Back in Vancouver, he missed the mark and had to endure both a tough loss and a significant fine, which amounted to one-fifth of his purse.
Furthermore, welterweight fighter Diego Sanchez warned Pereira prior to UFC 167 in February 2020, stating that he would not tolerate any missed weight issues. Sanchez emphasized that Pereira should compete as a middleweight, not a welterweight, and threatened that there would be no fight if the weight issue persisted.
Although Pereira managed to make weight for his bout with Sanchez in 2020, his second failure in the division may result in further pushback from fellow welterweight fighters in the future. It remains to be seen how Pereira will address this issue moving forward.